Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet
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Twenty five years ago, it didn't exist. Today, twenty million people worldwide are surfing the Net. Where Wizards Stay Up Late is the exciting story of the pioneers responsible for creating the most talked about, most influential, and most far-reaching communications breakthrough since the invention of the telephone.
In the 1960's, when computers where regarded as mere giant calculators, J.C.R. Licklider at MIT saw them as the ultimate communications devices. With Defense Department funds, he and a band of visionary computer whizzes began work on a nationwide, interlocking network of computers. Taking readers behind the scenes, Where Wizards Stay Up Late captures the hard work, genius, and happy accidents of their daring, stunningly successful venture.
the Microsoft chairman had yet to acknowledge the Internet as a useful tool. He declined. Paul Baran, whose role was minimized at BBN, nearly wasn’t invited at all. In time, the list ballooned to five hundred invitees. Conrades wanted this to be as much a signal for the future as a celebration of the past. He was planning for BBN to expand its somewhat diminished role in Internet-related businesses. BBN already owned and operated NEARnet, the New England regional network. One of his first moves
possibility that those arguments alone might have been enough to convince him. But there was another advantage, centering on the question of reliability. It might be possible to connect computers in a network redundantly, so that if one line went down, a message could take another path. “Is it going to be hard to do?” Herzfeld asked. “Oh no. We already know how to do it,” Taylor responded with characteristic boldness. “Great idea,” Herzfeld said. “Get it going. You’ve got a million dollars more
frontrunner. A major defense contractor in the Boston area specializing in electronic systems components, Raytheon had already proposed to build a high-speed, short-distance computer network. In the middle of December, Roberts entered into final negotiations with Raytheon for the IMP contract. Raytheon officials answered ARPA’s remaining technical questions and accepted the price. So it surprised everyone when, just a few days before Christmas, ARPA announced that the contract to build the
unlike the treatment many an airline passenger has experienced when a plane cannot take off because bad weather at the destination airport prevents the plane from landing. The passenger sits on the ground and waits for an opening at the destination. In simulations, the new scheme succeeded in preventing the insertion of more traffic into the network than the destination IMP could handle. If development of the network was to proceed at a steady pace now, closer coordination would be necessary
the address. The Multics folks objected vehemently when it was first used, understandably so. Tomlinson, a Tenex hacker, had chosen the @ sign without realizing, perhaps, that in the Multics system it was the character used to send a “line kill” command. Any Multics user who tried to send mail to “Tomlinson@bbn-tenex” would quickly get into trouble. Multics would start reading the address, encounter the @ sign, and throw away everything on the line that had been typed previously. Ted Myer and